Michelle May O'Neil

Michelle May O'Neil

Senior Shareholder

Years of Experience

Michelle May O'Neil has 25 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as "a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty", Ms. O'Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client's difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client's goals. One judge said of Ms. O'Neil, "She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!"

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O'Neil became a board certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification for 20 years since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O'Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O'Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for six straight years, 2011-2016, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014 to 2016, Ms. O'Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and 2017 in appellate law and, most recently, made the DMagazine list of the Best Lawyers in Dallas 2016 in appellate law.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O'Neil has written her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law, which is on its third edition in 2016 and available through LuLu.com. Her first book,All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press (now out of print). The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O'Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.

Certification:

  • Board Certified in Family Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization 1997, recertified 2002, 2007, 2012

Bar Admission:

  • State Bar of Texas, 1992
  • United States Supreme Court, 1999

Education:

  • Doctor of Jurisprudence, Baylor University School of Law, 1991
  • Bachelor of Business Administration, Baylor University
  • Hankamer School of Business, 1989
  • Mediation Certificate, Texas Women’s University, 2003

Memberships:

  • State Bar of Texas, Family and Appellate Sections
  • Dallas Bar Association, Family and Appellate Sections
  • Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists
  • Collin County Bar Association
  • Denton County Bar Association
  • Tarrant County Family Law Bar Association

Publications:

  • Dallas Texas Divorce Law Blog, DallasTXDivorce.com
  • Gay and Lesbian Family Law in Texas Blog, LGBTTexasFamilyLaw.com
  • All About Kids and the Law in Texas, Texas Lawyer Press, 2009
  • (out of print).
  • The Basics of Texas Divorce, LuLu Press, 2010, second edition 2012, third edition 2016.
  • Commentator, Case Law Update, Section Report of the State Bar of Texas Family Law Section, ongoing

Honors:

  • DMagazine Best Lawyers in Dallas 2016, Appellate Law.
  • Best Lawyers in America 2016, 2017, Appellate Law.
  • Texas SuperLawyers, Family Law, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.
  • Texas SuperLawyers Top Lists 2014-2016: Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Dallas/Fort Worth area
  • A-V Peer Review Rating, Lexis-Nexis, Martindale Hubbell Legal Directories
  • Best Lawyer in Park Cities/North Dallas, Living Magazine, 2013
  • Annette Stewart Inn of Court, 2003 to 2015
  • Superb 10 rating, AVVO.com (2011 to present)
  • Who’s Who in America, multiple editions
  • Who’s Who in American Law, multiple editions

Published Articles:

“Advice from a Divorce Lawyer: Whether or Not You Are Thinking About Getting a Divorce”, Today’s Dallas Woman Magazine, January 2002. “Family Law Appeals Distinguished”, Appellate Advocate, Vol. XV, No. 4, Winter 2003. “Ground Rules: Annulment”, Texas’ Divorce Magazine, Vol. I, No. 1, Fall 2003. “Challenges and Rewards of Solo Practice”, Texas Lawyer, October 2003. “Alimony/Maintenance Enforcement By Contempt”, Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, April 2004. “Do You Know The New Law On AJ Appeals?”, Family Law Section Report, Vol. 2007-4. “Family Law Appeals Distinguished”, Family Law Section Report, Vol. 2007-4. “Gay Marriage Advocates Prepare to Present Before the U.S. Supreme Court”, http://www.slideshare.net/MichelleMayONeil/gay-marriage-advocates-present-before-the-us-supreme-court, April 2015. “Texas Family Code Statutory Update 2015”, http://www.slideshare.net/MichelleMayONeil/texas-family-code-statutory-update-2015 October 2015. “Getting a Divorce? Secure Your Finances”, Plano Profile Magazine, January 2016; “Small Business Issues in Divorce: A Cautionary Tale”, Texas Lawyer Magazine, January 2016; “Strategies for Contested Family Law and Divorce Hearings on a Time Budget”, Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, September 2016.

Presentations and Papers:

Family Law Topics

“Discovery in Family Law Cases”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, September 1999. “Enforcement of Court Orders and Decrees”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, April 2000. “Enforcement of Court Orders and Decrees”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, June 2001. “Enforcement of Court Orders and Decrees”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, March 2003. “When Custody Is At Issue”, Pro Bono Family Law Seminar, Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, October 2001. “Family Violence”, Advanced Family Law Drafting Course, State Bar of Texas, December 2001. “Maintenance and Alimony: Why Can’t I Get No Satisfaction?”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, June 2002. “Standards of Review in Family Law Appeals,” Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, November 2002. “Court Orders and Decrees”, Family Law Boot Camp 2003, State Bar of Texas, August 2003. “Speak Now or Waive It – Preserving Error for Trial Lawyers”, Advanced Family Law Course, State Bar of Texas, August 2006. “Enforcement of Court Orders and Decrees”, Family Law Practice Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, November 2006. “Characterization, Tracing, and Other Property Issues: What Really Is Clear and Convincing Evidence Anyway?”, Advanced Family Law Course, State Bar of Texas, August 2007. We Lost Now What: Perfecting the Appeal, Marriage Dissolution Course, State Bar of Texas, April 2008. Helping Your Client Deal with Debt In Divorce, 8th Annual Family Law on the Front Lines Conference, University of Texas, June 2008. “Writing the Perfect Country and Western Song: Successful Preparation and Trial of a Texas Temporary Orders Hearing”, Marriage Dissolution Boot Camp, State Bar of Texas, April 2009. “Interesting Appellate Issues”, Collin County Bench Bar Conference, May 2009. “Mandamus and More”, 9tth Annual Family Law on the Front Lines Conference, University of Texas, June 2009. “Winning Your Case Before You Go To Trial: Pretrial Dispositive Motions and Procedures”, Advanced Family Law Conference, State Bar of Texas, August 2009. Presentation materials for TAFLS Trial Institute, Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, February 2010. “Family Law Update: Same Sex Couple Divorce/Parenting Issues”, TexasBar CLE and LGBT Section, June 2010. “Winning Your Case Before You Go To Trial”, Collin County Bar Association, September 2010. “Case Law Update”, 11th Annual Family Law on the Front Lines, UT Law CLE, June 2011. “Same-Sex Custody Issues”, SMU Law School Symposium, February 2012. “Preservation of Error for Trial Lawyers”, Texas Lawyers for Lawyers Conference, January 2015. “Preserving Error for Trial Paralegals”, Texas Paralegal Division, District 2 webinar, July 2015. “Keep Calm and Contempt On”, Texas Lawyers Forward, January 2016. “Small Business Issues in a Texas Divorce”, West LegalEd Center, March 2016. “Trial Error Preservation”, DAPA/NTPA CLE, August 2016. “How is the practice of law like a marathon?” Lawyer Forward Conference, January 2017.

Civil Litigation Topics:

“Discovery in Mid-Sized Litigation Under the New Rules: Discovery Strategy for Neither Very Large Nor Very Small Cases”, Civil Discovery Under the New Rules, University of Houston Law Foundation, February 1999. “Top Ten Rules for an Effective Voir Dire”, Litigation and Trial Tactics, University of Houston Law Foundation, December 1999. “Representing the Unsympathetic Party”, Litigation and Trial Tactics Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, December 2000. “Enforcement of Court Orders and Decrees”, General Practice Institute, University of Houston Law Foundation, April 2001. “Protecting Your Client’s Case for Appeal (and You From Malpractice)”, Advance Civil Litigation Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, April 2004. “Anatomy of an Appeal”, Collin County Paralegal Association, November 2004. “Preservation of Error When Offering and Excluding Evidence”, How to Offer and Exclude Evidence Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, January 2005.

Juvenile Law Topics:

“Attorney-Client Privilege Communication Issues”, 13th Annual Juvenile Law Conference, Juvenile Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, February 2000.

LGBT Law Topics:

“Family Law Update: Same Sex Couple Divorce/Parenting Issues”, TexasBar CLE and LGBT Section, June 2010. “Same-Sex Custody Issues”, SMU Law School Symposium, February 2012. “Divorce, Custody, and Other Emerging Family Law Issues After Obergefell”, The Impact of Marriage Equality on Texas Law, TexasBar CLE and LGBT Section, December 2015.

Law Practice Management Topics:

“Practical Overview for Winding Down a Practice”, Essentials of Winding Down a Law Practice, TexasBar CLE December 2015.

Appellate Cases Handled:

  • Finch v. Chandler, 07-16-00282-CV, pending.
  • Manor v. Manor, 02-16-00067-CV, pending.
  • In re V.J.A.O., 05-15-01534-CV, pending.
  • In re C.R.C., 2016 WL 4131778 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2016, no pet.) (dismissed by agreement after briefing)
  • In re J.A.C., 2016 WL 3854215 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2016, no pet.).
  • Wyde v. Francesconi, 2016 WL 3007030 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2016) (case dismissed on our motion)
  • In re B.B.D., 12-15-00203-CV, pending.
  • Assoun v. Gustafson, 2016 __ S.W.3d __, 2016 WL 2747225 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2016, pet. pending). (case of first impression)
  • In re B.L., 2016 WL 1569782 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2016, orig. proceeding).
  • In re B.L., 2016 WL 1072498 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2016, orig. proceeding).
  • In re B.L., 2016 WL 1072496 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2016, orig. proceeding).
  • In re J.F., 2015 WL 6556969 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2015, no pet.).
  • In re Ashmore, 2015 WL 6522955 (Tex. App. –Dallas 2015, orig. proceeding).
  • Sheriff v. Moosa, 2015 WL 4736564 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2015, no pet.).
  • In re Assoun, 2015 WL 3508000 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2015, orig. proceeding) (mandamus denied 2015).
  • In re Busaleh, 2014 WL 4978642 (Tex. App. – Texarkana 2014, orig. proceeding).
  • Zhang v. Zhang, 2014 WL 4930814 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2014, pet. denied).
  • In re Neal, 2014 WL 2802907 (Tex. App. – Dallas, orig. proceeding).
  • In re C.H., 2014 WL 3891636 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2014, no pet).
  • O’Donnell v. Vargo, 2015 WL 4722459 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2015, no pet.).
  • In re Kinney, 2014 WL 1414280 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2014, orig. proceeding).
  • In re M.A.M., 2014 WL 1032415 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2014, orig. proceeding) (mandamus denied 2014).
  • In re M.A.M., 2014 WL 1031047 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2014, pet. denied).
  • In re O’Donnell, 2014 WL 1018618 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2014, orig. proceeding).
  • In re Alvarez-Rivas, 2014 WL 775402 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2014, orig. proceeding).
  • Shilling v. Gough, 393 S.W.3d 555 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2013, no pet. h.).
  • Jablonski v. Jablonski, 2013 WL 2420646 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2013, no pet. h.).
  • Bivins v. Martinez, 393 S.W.3d 893 (Tex. App. – Waco 2012, pet. denied).
  • Moore v. Moore, 383 S.W.3d 190 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2012, pet. denied). (case of first impression)
  • In re B.N.L.B., 375 S.W.3d 557 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2012, no pet. h.).
  • In re C.F.M., 360 S.W.3d 654 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2012, no pet. h.).
  • In re J.L.E., 2012 WL 2343901 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2012, no pet. h.).
  • In re Foreman, 2012 WL 2068964 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2012, orig. proceeding).
  • In re McCray, 2011 WL 6152191 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2011, orig. proceeding).
  • In re M.A.M., 346 S.W.3d 10 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2011, pet. denied).
  • Collins v. Collins, 345 S.W.3d 644 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2011, no pet.).
  • In re Maasoumi, 339 S.W.3d 787 (Tex. App. Dallas 2011, orig. proceeding).
  • In re McCray, 324 S.W.3d 685 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2010, orig. proceeding).
  • In re Pinkard, 2010 WL 4723770 (Tex. App. – Dallas, 2010, pet. denied).
  • In re McCray, 2010 WL 3193315 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2010, orig. proceeding).
  • In re P.L.H., 324 S.W.3d 114 (Tex. App – Dallas 2010, pet. denied).
  • Kee v. Kee, 307 S.W.3d 812 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2010, pet. denied). (case of first impression)
  • In re D.L.S., 2010 WL 1491860 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2010, no pet.).
  • In re C.B., 2010 WL 93475 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2010, orig. proceeding) (mandamus denied 2010).
  • In re M.K.S.-V., 301 S.W.3d 460 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2009, pet. denied). (case of first impression)
  • Eberstein v. Hunter, 260 S.W.3d 626 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2008, no pet.).
  • In re S.C.S., 2008 WL 1973570 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2008, no pet.).
  • In re Mantooth, 2008 WL 1867935 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2008, orig. proceeding).
  • Kemble v. Kemble, 2008 WL 921471 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2008, no pet.).
  • In re Barnett, 2008 WL 820201 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2008, no pet.).
  • In re L.M.M., 247 S.W.3d 809 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2008, pet. denied).
  • In re Dobbins, 247 S.W.3d 394 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2008, orig. proceeding).
  • Wichman v. Wichman, 2008 WL 425830 (Tex. App.– Fort Worth 2008, no pet.).
  • Eberstein v. Eberstein, 2007 WL 416491 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2007, no pet.).
  • In re Rowe, 182 S.W.3d 424 (Tex. App. – Eastland 2005, orig. proceeding).
  • Peck v. Peck, 172 S.W.3d 26 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2005, pet denied). (case of first impression)
  • In re Dettmer, 2005 WL 768406 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2005, orig. proceeding).
  • Harleaux v. Harleaux, 154 S.W.3d 925 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2005, no pet.).
  • In Re Dupree, 118 S.W.3d 911 (Tex. App. – Dallas, 2003, pet. denied)(orig. proceeding). (case of first impression)
  • Smith v. Smith, 115 S.W.3d 303 (Tex. App. – Corpus Christi 2003, no pet.).
  • Valley Forge Insurance Co. v. Austin, 65 S.W.3d 371 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2002), pet. denied, 105 S.W.3d 609 (Tex. 2003).
  • Kennedy v. Kennedy, 125 S.W.3d 14 (Tex. App. -- Austin 2002, pet. denied). (on PFR only)
  • Stamerjohn v. Stamerjohn, 02-02-00041-CV (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2002, pet. denied).
  • Saenz v. The Insurance Company for the State of Pennsylvania, 66 S.W.3d 444 (Tex.App. – Waco 2001, no pet.).
  • Gainesville Mem. Hosp. v. Tomlinson, 48 S.W.3d 511 (Tex. App. – Ft. Worth 2001, pet. denied).
  • In Re Aramark Corp., 38 S.W.3d 291 (Tex. App. – Tyler 2001, orig. proceeding).
  • Aramark v. Wisdom, 2001 WL 617925 (Tex. App. – Austin 2001, no pet.).
  • Dickens v. Willis, 957 S.W.2d 657 (Tex. App. – Austin 1997, no writ).
  • Lemley v. Miller, 932 S.W.2d 284 (Tex. App. – Austin 1996, no writ). (case of first impression)

Locations

5323 Spring Valley Road #150
Dallas, TX 75254

100 West Oak Street #301
Denton, TX 76201

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